Until We Have Faces: The American Niqaab

The other day I was in the garden with a friend, enjoying all the tender blessings of nature when, suddenly, a large vinegaroon crawled past her bare feet. It is a formidable-looking bug, but completely benign to humans. She leapt up like a gazelle on the savannah. After I captured and released the offender and my friend settled down, I asked her what made her so terrified of it and, as it turned out, of all bugs. She said succinctly, “They have no faces.” Faces may not be the only, but they are certainly the primary vehicle of emotional communication between us. This is not just true for humans, but for many other animals on this earth. When a creature is expressionless, it becomes alien…and dangerous. And that set me to thinking about the newest mutation in the American genome: the mask . A while back, a colleague and I were talking about the effect of the niqaab on children in Muslim countries. Although we were on opposite ends of the spectrum...(Read Full Article)
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